Chitral would be treeless in 30 years if alternate fuel not arranged

CHITRAL:?If people continued to use wood as fuel with the same proportion and they are not provided alternate fuel then trees will not be visible in Chitral even through a telescope after 30 years.

This was stated by Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Shaukat Fayyaz Khattak while talking this scribe on Saturday. He said Chitral currently needs 4,186,000 maunds wood annually, but production is too low than the requirement.

The DFO said when people don?t find fuel wood then they even don?t hesitate to use the precious Deodar wood for fuel. He said 550,000 feet Deodar is produced in ten years as it grows very slowly. Shaukat Fayyaz said he has proposed in response to complaints on Citizen Portal about the fuel situation that alternative means of fuel should be provided to protect forests which include gas and electricity on cheaper rates. He said people must be provided free of cost, or at least subsidized, electricity from Golian power house so that they could use it for cooking food and keeping their houses warm.

The DFO said the forests and stocks of Chestnut trees will be exhausted in the next three and four years. He said the growth of the plant is too slow, while its consumption is too high. He said people will switch to the use of Deodar after Chestnut trees will be no more available.

Shahzada Sirajul Mulk, a local resident, said while talking to this scribe that the people of Chitral must also be given cheaper electricity on the pattern of people of Hunza and Malakand to save the forests from destruction.

Former MNA Shahzada Iftikharuddin said gas project was approved due to his efforts and a site was also selected and land purchased worth of million of rupees for this purposes??in Singor area, but unfortunately the project became victim of politics and people remained deprived of the facility. Tabdeeli Sarkar of Riasati Madeena stopped work on gas plant as a result they compelled to use fire wood for cooking and heating purposes causing for deforestation.

The local people said there is extreme shortage of fuel wood in Chitral Bazaar and it is available at Rs600 per maund which is beyond the reach of common people. They said the indifference of elected representatives towards the Sengor gas project is troublesome. Social circles of Chitral have called upon Prime Minister Imran Khan to order resumption of work on gas project in Chitral and provide cheaper gas and electricity to the people to save the forest from destruction. They feared that the references to the forests of Chitral will only be found in books after few years if emergency steps were not taken to protect forests. .. GH Farooqi, 29 Dec 2019

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